…a tinselly, glittery time. Long distance calls to uncle and aunt, …
No, no: not that time of the year. Sorry. That time of the year is still a long way off. I mean, it’s that time of the year when we do our state testing.
Yes, it’s true that we need this data in order to “look good” to the state, to prove that there is a reason to have a SkyView Academy, and to demonstrate that we are meeting a need in this district. But let’s be clear: this is not just about what this means to the state. Oh no… this is about much, much more.
First, this is a great opportunity to show off how GREAT we are doing at SkyView–to demonstrate to our stakeholders, our prospective families, and our surrounding community just how successful we have become! There are two primary ways that our success is measured: achievement and growth. Yes, it helps when our students score very well on the exams we take, but it also helps us to demonstrate that students are growing. By demonstrating that students of all abilities are growing and moving forward, we are able to demonstrate that SkyView is a strong academic institution.
Second, this is a tremendous opportunity for us to collect some data that not only demonstrates to others that we are growing, but also informs us how to grow and improve, thus better educating students and preparing them for the future. And to be honest, this is the most important reason for all of our students to participate in the “state” testing. This is some very valuable, longitudinal, norm-referenced data that helps us to improve instruction.
With that being said, let’s consider some popular questions regarding spring testing…
“But doesn’t all this testing take up a ton of time and cut into instructional time?”
Not really. In fact, at the high school we will be completing all of our spring testing in just two days (April 10 & 11)! And for sophomores and juniors, the total amount of time will require less than one day! Seniors will have no testing required of them on April 10 and 11. Let’s look at it another way…
If we were to equate an entire year (365 days) to a long walk from SkyView Academy to San Francisco, CA, then the amount of time that students spend each year receiving in-class instruction would essentially be like walking from SkyView to Glenwood Springs. Out of all the instructional time we have each year, the amount of time spent on “state” testing would be like walking from SkyView Academy down to the Krispy Creme at 470 and Quebec!
If you’re still not convinced, then let me put it to you this way: on average, a high school student spends more time on their Smartphone each day than they spend on state testing for the entire year!
What tests will we be taking? …when?
Freshmen will be taking the PARCC test. The math portion will be Monday, April 10 and the ELA portion will be Tuesday, April 11. Last year we scored very well! I am confident that we will knock it out of the park again this year (did you catch that pun), but we need to increase participation.
Sophomores will be taking the PSAT on Tuesday morning, April 11. This is very valuable data that we will compare to their PSAT scores next fall (and it will help us prepare for the PSAT/National Merit next fall).
Juniors will take the CMAS (science only) on Monday morning, April 10 and then take the SAT on Tuesday morning, April 11. I hope I don’t need to convince you to take the SAT. But the CMAS is also important–this is a great opportunity to get some much-needed science data to connect with our enormous science fair success (not to mention it’s a perfect way to warm up for the SAT the next day).
Seniors will not have any testing on April 10 & 11. Instead we have planned a senior trip for them (more details will be forthcoming).
What if I want to opt out?
Well, quite frankly, that is an option. I do, however, feel that it is the wrong decision to opt out of any testing. You will be robbing SkyView of some valuable data and jeopardizing either our achievement or growth numbers, thus preventing us from getting better. So simply put, opt-outs hurt SkyView. If you are considering opting out of testing, I am sincerely asking you to reconsider and to take one for the team (the SkyView Team).
If students do opt out, they are still required to attend school that day. Absences during state testing (opt-out or otherwise) will be unexcused.
I completely understand why and how you use this data. I get it–and I’m in! But I want to see this data too. When will I see the results?
PSAT and SAT results will be released fairly quickly to schools and students in June. CMAS and PARCC results will be released to schools next fall–in turn, we should be able to have that data to you sometime before Parent/Teacher conferences. At that time, we will also share out what we have learned, including areas of strength and areas for growth.
Anything else I need to know?
Nope, not that I can think of. Just know that we want all of our high school students to participate in testing–both for their own benefit and for SkyView’s. More information will be forthcoming in the weeks to follow. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or Paula Harrison our assessment coordinator.